Title: Drama Muscle
Author: Joe Cosentino
Series: Nicky and Noah Mysteries #2
Release Date: January 2nd 2016
Genre: MM Romance, Mystery, Humour
It could be lights out for college theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza. With dead bodybuilders popping up on campus, Nicky, and his favorite colleague/life partner Noah Oliver, must use their drama skills to figure out who is taking down pumped up musclemen in the Physical Education building before it is curtain down for Nicky and Noah. Complicating matters is a visit from Noah’s parents from Wisconsin, and Nicky’s suspicion that Noah may be hiding more than a cut, smooth body. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining second novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and weights up!
Fans of Drama Queen will adore Nicky and Noah’s sequel and I guarantee that reviews of the book, which will no doubt be great, will also secure Joe Cosentino a new following.
I had never encountered a voice or writing style like Joe Cosentino’s before I picked up Drama Queen, and I think that in Drama Muscle the humor, characters’ flamboyance and general atmosphere of outrageousness, is even more exaggerated. Whilst this is a positive and gives us plenty of genuine laugh out loud moments, I also think that perhaps it makes it difficult for the reader to take any part of the story seriously.
However, Drama Muscle is also a mystery and Nicky and Noah are once again required to use their theatrical skills to play Sherlock and Watson. By the beginning of chapter four, there have already been 3 suspicious deaths and Joe Cosentino points the finger at every character left alive. As we are left pondering who the probable murderer is, we also wonder who on earth would choose to live in Treemeadow with its alarming crime rate!
The success of Drama Muscle is also down to the characters Joe Cosentino creates. It is no mistake that the Physical Education professors are named “Brick Strong”, “Van Granite” and “Cheryl Stryker”.
The bodybuilding competitors are cast as Gods and Goddesses; Nicky and Noah as the kings (or should that be Queens?) of organizing the show and Noah’s mother, Bonnie is firmly placed into the role of court jester by Joe Cosentino. Her photo-taking at every opportunity – on her iPad, no less – and subsequent comments from “Judy” leave us both giggling and rolling our eyes! Some of her one-liners are also the best in the story,
“I feel like Jessica Fletcher!”
Joe Cosentino does not give his readers a direct route to discovering the perpetrator’s identity – and I really enjoy the twists, turns, red herrings and side events. The one thing about Drama Muscle is that by its conclusion we realize that there has been an underlying message all along.
Joe Cosentino offers his readers something original and very different to the generic contemporary M/M romances out there and I because of that I can’t recommend Drama Muscle enough; it is another moment of genius by Joe Cosentino!
Congratulations to DRAMA QUEEN for winning Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mystery, Best Crime, Best Humorous, Best Contemporary novel of 2015!
My review for Drama Queen
To celebrate the success of the Nicky and Noah series, Joe Cosentino agreed to stop by All in One Place to be interviewed. Thank you Joe!
Me: First, congratulations on DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, winning four Divine Magazine Readers’ Poll awards for Favorite Mystery, Favorite Crime, Favorite Contemporary, and Favorite Humorous Novel of 2015.
JC: Thanks so much. A huge hug to the readers who voted for it. As a college professor/department head, I have long thought a college is the perfect place for a series full of merriment, mayhem, murders, mystery, and amore. It’s amazing to get this validation from readers. I love the series, and I’m beyond thrilled that readers do too!
Me: You are here today to tell us about DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery. Though each book is a separate standalone mystery novel, Nicky and Noah’s relationship grows from book one to book two, and we see some recurring characters who I assume will continue in book three. I’m sure you’ve been told before that The Nicky and Noah Mysteries should be a television series. If so, who would make up your dream cast?
JC: Yes! After majoring in theatre in college I became a professional actor, working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell (AT&T industrial), Nathan Lane (Roar of the Greasepaint onstage), Bruce Willis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage), Charles Keating (NBC’s Another World), Jason Robards (Commercial Credit computer commercial), and Holland Taylor (ABC’s My Mother Was Never a Kid TV movie). So it wasn’t a surprise to me when people said my books read a bit like screenplays. I’d love to see a TV series for Nicky and Noah. I can envision Matt Bomer as Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza, Neil Patrick Harris as Assistant Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, me as Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson (the theatre department head), Wanda Sykes as Shayla the theatre department office assistant, Rosie O’Donnell and Nathan Lane as Noah’s parents from Wisconsin. Specifically for DRAMA MUSCLE, I’d like Charlie Carver as bodybuilding student Mack Heath, Chris Colfer as theatre student Jimmy Saline, Robert Gant as Bodybuilding Department Head Brick Strong, Cheyenne Jackson as bodybuilding professor Van Granite, Jodie Foster as bodybuilding professor Cheryl Stryker. I could go on and on. Let’s make this happen!
Me: Why did you set the second novel in the Bodybuilding Department?
JC: I have always been fascinated with bodybuilders. The concept of eating protein every two hours, lifting weights for three hours a day, shaving every body part, spray tanning, and posing in tiny gold trunks is amazing to me. I quickly noticed the link between bodybuilding and theatre. Since I work out every day (yet see very little results!) and am enamored of the real bodybuilders who are so big they don’t even need to iron their shirts, DRAMA MUSCLE holds a special place in my heart. Also, of three Nicky and Noah mystery novels so far, it also has the most sex in it. There must have been something about all those sweaty bodybuilders that made me do that!
Me: Nicky is described as having an enormous manhood. Does that help him solve the murders?
JC: It doesn’t hurt. Well, maybe it does. Hah. Nicky has to flirt his way into some places to get certain information, so his handsome face, muscular body, and huge penis are definitely assets. Even more, however, Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including playing other people, to get clues. Most of all, Nicky uses his smarts, always a fine asset in an amateur detective. Nicky has such amazing wit and perseverance in the face of adversity. I love his sense of determination in not only nabbing the murderer, but also getting his man—Noah. Nicky knows what he wants and how to get it. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he wants to help them. He also has no problem taking on the role of hero. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver.
Me: Do you find it hard to inject humour into your books, or does it come naturally?
JC: It’s hard for me not to! I’ve always had a funny mind. I can hear almost anything and see the humour in it. I think I get this from my mother. For example, for Christmas one year my parents bought me a sweater and my sister a house. When I asked my mother if I was an orphan, she replied, “Orphans don’t have sweaters. Appreciate what you have.”
As you know I wrote AN INFATUATION (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for 2nd Place LGBT Romance Novel) loosely based on my high school years and attending my high school reunion, and A SHOOTING STAR loosely based on my time as a theatre major in college. While both are bittersweet dreams novellas with some sad and tragic moments, I couldn’t resist adding in lots of humour. Both novellas did so well as e-books that Dreamspinner Press is publishing them together in paperback releasing March 21.
My holiday e-book novella from Dreamspinner Press, A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, is loosely based on my amazing trip to the gorgeous, magical, and romantic island of Capri, Italy. Though a short romance novella, again I couldn’t resist adding in lots of humour with Bobby’s and Paolo’s families.
The humour in the Nicky and Noah series borderlines on farce, so it is great fun to write. In DRAMA MUSCLE, however, the comedy with the Kim twins bodybuilding students who read each other’s minds was difficult to write.
Me: How do you write a good mystery?
JC: Give the clues early. There’s nothing worse than reading a mystery and not getting any clues until the end. That’s cheating. Camouflage your clues and put in a number of red herrings. A mystery should have more than mystery. Like any novel, it should have interesting characters, a strong plot with lots of twists and turns, and a satisfying ending. Getting there should be half the fun.
Me: What three books that you’ve read recently could you recommend to us?
JC: I just re-read all of Armistead Maupin’s TALES OF THE CITY books. I adore the mystery, quirky characters, unexpected plot twists and turns, sweet romance, themes of equality, and surprise yet justified endings. I try to emulate that in my writing.
Me: If a genie popped out of a bottle, what would your three wishes be?
JC: That Jesus would come back and tell his followers persecuting LGBT people and their families in his name to stop the insanity. That nobody would ever go to bed hungry, homeless, or unloved ever again. And that each of my books is made into a hit movie or television show.
Me: Can you tell us a little something about your WIP?
JC: Okay, but you’ll be sorry you asked. Hah. On January 27, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND, releases from Dreamspinner Press. The novella is my gay spin on my favorite fairytales like Cinderella, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Snow Queen, full of humor, romance, adventure, and fantasy.
The Nicky and Noah mystery series from Lethe Press continues in about six months with the release of DRAMA CRUISE, where Nicky and Noah go on a cruise to Alaska, and discover why college theatre professors are going overboard like lifeboats while Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship.
My Jana Lane mysteries, with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, continues after PAPER DOLL (Whiskey Creek Press) with PORCELAIN DOLL (releasing from The Wild Rose Press on March 15), where ex-child star Jana Lane makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In SATIN DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a romance with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In CHINA DOLL (not yet released from The Wild Rose Press), Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s best friends are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels. I am currently writing RAGDOLL, where Jana stars in a television mystery series and once again life imitates art.
Finally, I have a new series of novels set in a gay beach resort called Cozzi Cove. Though I hide under a beach umbrella due to my fair skin, I love the beach! NineStar Press is publishing COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK and COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD soon about handsome Cal Cozzi and his gay resort at the New Jersey shore.
About the Author
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote Drama Queen and Drama Muscle Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press), An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press), Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (NineStar Press), Paper Doll (Whiskey Creek Press) and Porcelain Doll (Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), Satin Doll and China Doll Jana Lane mysteries (Wild Rose Press), and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (Nine Star Press). Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015.